Ohio State at Michigan State Week 12 Expert Pick
Last year, Michigan State went into Columbus without starting quarterback Connor Cook and stunned the unbeaten Buckeyes, which knocked Ohio State out of a shot to win the Big Ten East Division and potentially get a spot in the College Football Playoff. Can OSU get revenge this year? It should be favored on college football odds.
Taking a Closer Look at the Ohio State at Michigan State Week 12 Expert Pick & TV Info
Michigan State vs Ohio State Historic Betting Trends
Last year, Michigan State was No. 9 in the nation and Ohio State No. 2 when they squared off, with MSU pulling the 17-14 shocker. Michael Geiger kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired to snap the Buckeyes’ 23-game winning streak on a rainy and windy day at Ohio Stadium. That win essentially got MSU into the Big Ten title game, which it won, and then the College Football Playoff.
Michigan State held Ohio State to five first downs and 132 yards of total offense (86 rushing, 46 passing). The Buckeyes had six three-and- outs. The 132 yards were the fewest by an Urban Meyer-coached team and the fewest allowed by MSU since Illinois had 128 yards on Oct. 26, 2013. It was also the fewest total yards for a Buckeye team since 1999 (79 vs. Michigan State). Ohio State entered the game ranked first in the Big Ten in scoring offense (36.4 points per game) and rushing offense (244.8 yards per game) and second in total offense (453.3 yards per game). Michigan State held Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott to 33 yards rushing on 12 carries; he entered the game with a streak of 15 consecutive games with more than 100 yards rushing.
Without Cook, the Spartans completed one pass in the second half, but they gave Geiger a chance to win it with 3 seconds left and the 5-foot- 8 junior curved it through. MSU also ended Ohio State’s NCAA FBS record of 30 consecutive regular-season conference victories, and it marked OSU’s first regular-season Big Ten loss under Meyer. Mark Dantonio is 3-4 vs. Ohio State in his tenure at Michigan State. Michigan State has won its last four games against an undefeated Ohio State team when playing the Buckeyes past Nov. 1 (defeated No. 1 OSU 16-13 on Nov. 9, 1974, in East Lansing; defeated No. 1 OSU 28-24 on Nov. 7, 1998, in Columbus; defeated No. 2 OSU 34-24 on Dec. 7, 2013, in Indianapolis; defeated No. 2 OSU 17-14 on Nov. 21, 2015).
Why Bet Michigan State?
Dantonio’s Spartans usually play their best against the top teams, last year’s College Football Playoff loss to Alabama notwithstanding. MSU lost several key starters but should still have a top defense led by tackle Malik McDowell.
McDowell, a second-team All-Big Ten selection by both the coaches and media as a sophomore in 2015, ranked second on the team in tackles for loss (13 for 54 yards), tied for second in QB hurries (8) and third in sacks (4.5 for 38 yards). He was also named first-team All-Big Ten by ESPN.com and picked up second-team honors from The Associated Press and Athlon Sports. McDowell was second among Spartan defensive linemen with 41 tackles and ranked second on the team with 146 production points during the regular season.
Meanwhile, linebacker Riley Bullough is back and he led the team and ranked 16th in the Big Ten with a career-high 106 tackles (7.6 avg.). He became the first Spartan to record 100 tackles in a single season since his brother Max had 111 in 2012; it marked the seventh season a member of the Bullough family has led Michigan State in tackles (father Shane in 1985-86; uncle Chuck in 1990-91; brother Max in 2011-12). Riley tied for the team lead with two fumble recoveries and also had two interceptions, two forced fumbles and two pass break-ups.
Why Bet Ohio State?
No team returns fewer starters than Ohio State’s six in the entire country. But one of those back is quarterback J.T. Barrett and he should be the best in the Big Ten. In 2014 in place of an injured Braxton Miller, Barrett threw for 34 touchdowns and completed nearly 63 percent of his passes, numbers that were good enough to earn him First Team All-Big Ten honors. But he was hurt in the regular-season finale vs. Michigan and missed OSU’s run to the national title. Barrett and Jones shared the job at times last year before Barrett took it over for good.
Mike Weber is expected to step up and play a big role at running back, with Noah Brown (who missed all of last year with injury) expected to fill the void at wide receiver, with veterans Dontre Wilson and Curtis Samuel stepping in too. OSU has plenty of five-star recruits to plug in.
My Expert Pick
Sparty is likely to be a home dog on NCAA football odds but I like them in a mini-upset here.